Nina Totenberg had been silent most of the day as three members of the Supreme Court issued brief statements in response to a piece she’d written for NPR. A lot of people have been splitting hairs over the justices’ statements, saying they don’t necessarily refute what Totenberg reported, and NPR itself is among them, parsing the two statements very carefully.

“On Tuesday, NPR reported that … the chief justice, “in some form asked the other justices to mask up.” Chief Justice John Roberts seemed to hammer the final nail in that coffin, saying, “I did not request Justice Gorsuch or any other Justice to wear a mask on the bench.”

Yes, but:

On Wednesday, Sotomayor and Gorsuch issued a statement saying that she did not ask him to wear a mask. NPR’s report did not say that she did. Then, the chief justice issued a statement saying he “did not request Justice Gorsuch or any other justice to wear a mask on the bench.” The NPR report said the chief justice’s ask to the justices had come “in some form.”

NPR stands by its reporting.

They’re harping about “in some form”? That’s like Bill Clinton saying his answer depended on what the meaning of the word “is” was. But NPR stands by its reporting.

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